Sunday, 26 April 2009

Dress for seven sisters

I would have liked to make this ‘life-size’ and let the dress stretch across a wall but as I didn’t want to commit to a life-time project I made it a small piece. Started last September, put it away while I made my shoes, final stitches the other week. Decided to have some fun with it now, my work (art and writing) has been so serious lately, and I’m feeling so bleeding tired and in need of light relief, so here’s a quick little poem to go with the dress:

Material: Silk/wool yarn
Dimensions: 41 cm x 18 cm

Dress for seven sisters

To curb their cheer,
to hold them near
a dress was made
from wool too coarse
where silken slips
could soothe and tickle.

Twelve arms vanish,
strapped of their art.
Cool skin, pale blue
as starlings’ eggs,
lies with breath held
in every pore.

A skittish storm
of hands is stirred.
Happily trapped
these fingers trail,
tease a pink purr
from turbid skin.

Cheeks bloom, eyes blaze.
When mother comes
two dainty hands
are raised to greet her.
That skirt bluffs frills
and ruffles.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

In the mean-time

The last few weeks I’ve had to set aside my artwork, the lopsided-project and the reading of blogs, reluctantly, but life had other ideas, rather good ones actually, involving a magic trip to Seven Sisters (where the sea sparkled as if the stars were skinny-dipping), curtain poles, Roni Horn’s exhibition at Tate Modern, and a choice of red and purple blossoms – which left no energy for much else.
I’m still aligned with spring though and do not want to let my blog wither so I’m offering you this, written a couple of months ago, and, I hasten to add, not biographical in any real sense.

Cosy for my heart

I knit and knit a useless thing that might have been
a sleeve. Two purl, two plain, a drip-feed of stitches.

No wings for you, no name, no song, just loop
passing through loop and the clicking of needles.

Some stitches cruelly ring a life: rib, seed and moss,
flame, sea foam, little shell. You fell away a tiny curl

of flesh, a blur of nerves and tissue. I fold my life
around the lack of you, this sealed threshold.

You’re a breath held. The mouth that would have kissed
and sung you lullabies and called your name has set.

Instead I drop a stitch and watch it slide its groove, unfurl
down rung by curly rung, unstrip its alphabet.

From there I spin a life, dressed in a poem’s raggedy lines,
this spider lace of letters.

Friday, 10 April 2009

To live so small as I

I started these at the fingertips and crocheted my way upward, unsure about its final form. Had I been able to work faster the piece would have been a different one, as in my head it went through all kinds of mutations, but by the time I had the arms done I knew I wanted tights.
I feel inordinately pleased with this diminutive object (diminutive not so much in terms of size, I've made smaller objects, but in the vibrations it gives off: not like a song sung at the top of one's voice, more like a murmur or a hum).
Writing about the memory of my cousin E. ties in with the need (and this need has been at the heart of my art practice for years), to try and find ways of considering difference. Here it’s about the sense of difference a child might have, of not being, not feeling ‘right’. From somewhere a purple shadow fell.
The title is inspired by a line in a poem by Emily Dickinson who, inspired by Lesley, I have lately been reading much more closely:

It would have starved a Gnat
To live so small as I—

And there is something here of the Empedokles-quote I am still enamoured by.

Monday, 6 April 2009